Shaped like the roots of a tree the coronary arteries are the heart’s largest vessels. They branch from the aorta and their main function is to bring blood, rich in oxygen and nutrients to the myocardium, which is the heart muscle capable of contracting and relaxing, carrying out the beating of the heart.
Coronary Artery Disease, or CAD, occurs when there is a decrease or interruption of coronary blood flow and is one of the main causes of death in developed countries. The obstructions or ischemia that occurs in the coronary arteries are usually caused by the formation of atherosclerotic plaques, which contain cholesterol and other substances in their composition.
The increase in cholesterol is directly associated with high-fat diets, smoking, diabetes and obesity. The risk increases with age. Coronary disease has a silent emergence and development. When it becomes noticeable, the risk of a heart attack is usually high.
Mild obstructions are treated with medication and dietary changes to lower cholesterol. Obstructions that compromise 70% of the blood flow at a certain point or points in the coronary arteries are considered important and those that block more than 80% of the blood flow are considered serious.
In cases considered serious, it is necessary to perform an intervention to clear and restore blood circulation, thus avoiding Acute Infarction, which occurs when the myocardium does not receive the necessary amount of oxygen and nutrients to maintain blood pumping.
The main symptoms of a heart attack are:
- Pain or tightness in the chest
- Radiating back pain
- Jaw pain
- Lack of breath and tiredness
- Nausea and burning sensation in the stomach
Cardiac Catheterism is an exam performed in Hemodynamics Centers, using minimally invasive techniques and medical equipment capable of generating accurate images of the heart structure. Catheterization is essential to identify the presence, location and size of obstructions in the coronary arteries.
Coronary Angioplasty is the procedure by which blood flow is restored in the coronary arteries and can be performed using a balloon catheter or by placing stents.